ALAPPUZHA: After the tedious wait of political parties, the State Election Commission has declared the date of election of the by-poll of Chengannur Assembly constituency much to the relief of political parties. The parties declared candidates much ahead of the election announcement and started heated campaigns, though they were unable to continue the energy after the protracted declaration of dates.
The ruling LDF, Opposition UDF and the NDA presented strong candidates for the contest paving way for a triangular fight. After the declaration of dates, the candidates and parties were resurrected for a strong contest. All fronts are looking at the election as a prestigious one prior to the upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2019. The LDF is trying to continue the victory which reached the hands after a decade with the victory of K K Ramachandran Nair.
His death necessitated the by-election. The UDF is trying to regain the constituency which was lost in the 2016 Assembly election. The NDA is looking at the election as a litmus test of the rule of the Narendra Modi Government in the Centre. CPM district secretary Saji Cheriyan is the LDF candidate and D Vijayakumar is the UDF candidate. The BJP has put up P S Sreedharan Pillai for the contest. In the last election, Ramachandran Nair defeated P C Vishnunath with a margin of 7,983 votes. Nair bagged 52,880 votes and Vishnunath gained 44,897 votes.
Sreedharan Pillai gained 42,282 votes. Saji Cherian, two-time secretary of the CPM, has a good political background in the constituency. He entered Left politics through the Students Federation of India in the late 1970s. D Vijayakumar is the Chengannur Agriculture Cooperative Bank president and Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham vicepresident. He started his political career as unit vice president of the KSU in NSS College, Changanassery. Venmony native Sreedharan Pillai started his public life through Jana Sangh in 1966.
Two-time CPM secretary Saji Cherian has been leading the party in Alappuzha since 2015. He entered Left politics through SFI. He contested from the constituency in 2006, but was defeated by P C Vishnunath of theCongress.
UDF candidate D Vijayakumar is the Chengannur Agriculture Cooperative Bank president and Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham vice-president. He began his political career as unit vice president of KSU in NSS College, Changanassery and has held several important posts in Youth Congress, INTUC and others.
Venmony native Sreedharan Pillai is the BJP candidate. A prominent name in state politics, he started his public life through Jana Sangh in 1966. From 2003-2006, he had held the post of BJP state president